Moroccan Meatballs with mint, cilantro, and spices cooked in a Spicy Tomato Sauce with all the flavors of North African cuisine. A delicious and hearty one-pan meal.
Cooking with herbs and spices is a great, healthy way to impart a lot of flavor into food. Cilantro, mint, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and ginger are all herbs and spices used in Moroccan cooking that add amazing flavor to these meatballs and also to the delicious spicy tomato sauce. The Moroccan word for ground meat that is seasoned with spices and either wrapped around a skewer and grilled or added to sauce is kefta or kofta. Kefta is traditionally made in a tagine, which is an earthenware cooking dish with a coned lid. If you don’t have a tagine (like me), you can use a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet.
Moroccan Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
For a dish with such bold flavors, this recipe could not be easier. Preparation is about 5 minutes and then they simmer for 40 minutes. As an added bonus, the entire dish is made in the same pan so clean-up is a breeze!
Lamb is very popular in Moroccan cuisine and is used for these meatballs along with ground beef. You can also mix-it-up by using all beef, or a combination of beef and pork.
All the meatball ingredients are mixed together then shaped into one-ounce balls. The sauce starts with onion, garlic, and spices, then tomato paste and sauce is added. For the spice level that I like, which is not too hot, I added ¼ teaspoon of chili flakes. If you like it on the spicier side, add more. It is a good idea to add a little at a time and taste as you go and not wait until the end, or you may get a surprise. Once the sauce comes together, the meatballs are added and you have an easy dinner that tastes like it slow cooked for hours. I like to serve this dish with a side of couscous and add freshly chopped mint. You can also serve pita or naan bread for mopping up all the delicious sauce.
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¼ cup onion, very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg white
- 2 teaspoons plain breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (about 1 cup), finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon pinch red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well with your hands.
- Shape into 1-ounce size balls and set aside.
- To a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, add oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes until softened.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the garlic, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes. Mix well and cook for 1 minute, do not burn.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to mix and cook the paste a little.
- Add the tomato sauce, water, salt, and bay leaf. Stir to mix well and raise the heat to medium.
- Add the meatballs into the sauce, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, uncover and simmer for 20 more minutes.
- Remove bay leaf before serving.
Home Chef Tip: Taste the sauce as you go to test for spiciness.
We hope you love this delightful recipe for Moroccan Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce from SoFabFood Contributor, Janette from Culinary Ginger, as much as we do. If you love this simple recipe, stop by our Dinner section to find more easy weeknight meal ideas. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so that you never miss a single recipe, and you can visit our Pinterest boards for even more incredibly unique dinner ideas. Enjoy!